I was looking out the window of my 3rd story deluxe apartment, the ceiling high windows the selling point of the hip, modern home. All the people below looked so different, yet eerily similar. Long hair, man buns, side shaves, and bright awful color streaks through their hair to match the dull plaid shirts with the sleeves rolled to the elbows.
“Hey Garret! 10th Man on the Moon just debuted their new album on the UnderGrounD Network! Have you heard it yet?” My roommate Robert, now goes by Robbie, had another band to tell me about. Of course he heard of them first, probably playing in someone’s garage just a few months ago. “Yeah, it was okay.” I replied sheepishly. It was a lie, I hate any band that plays off tune intentionally and removes a chorus for ‘creative intent.’
“You didn’t like it?” His eyebrows began to raise, questioning me.
“No I mean it was cool. Unique. Sorry, you know me without my coffee…”
Seemingly satisfied with my answer, he went back to his room. I went to mine and threw on some ironic clothes lying on the floor. Tight jeans with rips on the thighs, a shirt of some band with a long name and 2 dots over every vowel, and a jacket with too many patches to count, mostly proclaiming something about Anarchy. Just as I was about to leave the apartment and escape any more interrogation, Robbie attacked again. “Hey bro, can you pick me up a Super Venti Goat Milk Peppermint Frappo-Latte?”
Ugh. “Sure man, anything else?” He scratched his beard, the gears slowly turning in his brain as he searched for something, probably off the secret menu.
“Alright I’m in a rush just text me.”
“But I don’t have a cell pho-“ Slam.
Finally away from the harassment, I put on my hideous bulky headphones and threw on some classics from years back. Not that the music was any good, but everyone back then knew the half naked performers’ stage names and karaoke nights were a lot less boring.
I think it started 5 years ago or so, when the hipsters took over. Rumor was that a freshman was writing a song in his dorm, and after performing it for a lucky lady he bit her and got expelled. After that it spread like wildfire among the colleges, primarily the younger generation wearing the loggers’ clothing. We all thought it was just another trend, like rollerblading or depression, but the hipster movement never stopped. It kept growing, affecting hospitals, nursing homes, and soon even the White House was filled with skinny jeans and flannel shirts.
I never really noticed it until one Thanksgiving my sister came in with half her head shaved off. She called it stylish. I called it hideous. The next morning, my father, a man of gross t-shirts and cargo shorts, woke us up for breakfast with a freshly trimmed beard and much too tight pants for a man of his age. I couldn’t stand it. I left to go for a walk, but when I looked, the hipsters were everywhere. They were walking their dogs, with matching hairstyles and cute little matching shirts. They were at the (plentiful) coffee shops, all staring intently at laptops. Even the homeless were wearing brand new old clothing.
I started walking faster, passing one vinyl record shop after another. Then I just ran. I left town, found a gross apartment a few cities away and scoured Fox News and other conspiracy websites for information. Some said it would go away soon, that it was just the natural cycle of trends. But others said it was bigger-that this was the new future. Assimilation. Control. Aliens. All I knew for sure from the sites was that they wouldn’t bite one of their own, as that would be seen as uncool by the others.
Back from the coffee run, I was hiding in my room, playing the last remaining movie untouched by the madness, Star Wars 14. Or Star Wars Ex I Vee. Nobody knew anymore. Of course Hollywood jumped aboard right away when the hipster movement began. You would never of known which of the Hollywood elite was infected, because nobody would be caught dead on the red carpet without a flannel shirt and non matching beanie unless you never wanted to be noticed again.
BANG BANG BANG
SHIT. Had I locked the door? I rushed to turn off the TV just as the door opened.
“Hey bro, me and some friends are going to a new dive bar that just opened, want to come?” Robbie, of course.
“What are you watching?”
I panicked. “Definitely man I’ll go. I’ve been spending too much time watching…Pulp Fiction for…inaccuracies in the time line.” I hoped I hadn’t used this one before on him.
Robbie stared. Then he laughed. “Oh man, I spent a month scraping over that film. It’s perfect man, you won’t find anything wrong with Tarantino’s directing.”
“Hah, yea, I just fig-“
“Anyway, we leave in 20, get ready for a night you won’t remember!” As he left, I was stuck deciding if this was a blessing or a curse. I didn’t have to move to another new city, sure, but now I have to go to a shitty underground bar filled with obscure movie references, watered down drinks, and poor lighting. I could always join the Cult of Cool. They made a name for themselves by declaring living as too mainstream since everyone they know is doing it, so every first Friday of the month a new batch gets together for some popcorn and cyanide pills.
Living hadn’t yet worn out it’s welcome, so I left the safety of my room for some home brewed ales and awkward introductions.
The bar was nicer than I thought it would be. They had a decent crowd, and a pinball machine in the corner for the socially awkward.
“Guys, you have to try the Cotton Candy Brain Bomb! You can’t even taste the alcohol in it!” Robbie came around with a round of drinks, all offering the same pinkish hue. “To a night, we won’t remember!” Glasses clinked, drinks were emptied, and the room starting doing a dance.
I plotted my escape. “I’m going to go play pinball.”
“Go ahead Garret. You know guys, Garrett is absolutely obsessed with pinball. Every bar we go to, he has to try for 1st place. He’s like a pinball wizard.”
I left the table of small talk for the peaceful noise of loud buzzes and clanging.
As I was working on passing 3rd place, I heard a woman’s voice.
“Not bad for a rookie.”
“Technically, a rookie would have to of played under 4 hours on a single machine. I’m actually a-“ Then I looked at her. She was stunning. If you looked past her bright green hair and men’s clothing, you could even say she was beautiful.
“I uh…” Say something damn it. “Nice beanie.” Nice beanie? Really? What a stupid thing to say.
“It’s actually not mine. My sister loves this beanie, I’m just taking it on a joyride before she comes back from Seattle. So, you like pinball huh?”
“I’m a, uh, my friends call me the Pinball Wizard.” BZZZZT. Game Over.
“Well, looks like your turn is over, Rookie.”
“Well then.” Take your shot Garrett. She’s gorgeous, say something. She’s too pretty for you, you’ll make a fool of yourself. My two brains were fighting, as per usual when I meet someone of the opposite sex. “Want to get a drink? I heard they make the best Cotton Candy Brain Bomb here.”
She smiled. “Sure, rookie.”
“It’s incredible, I can’t even taste the alcohol in it!”
“It better be good for $25 a drink,” I grumbled. At this point, I was $100.25 broker than before.
“Oh cheer up Rook, it’s the grand opening. What else would you expect from silly dive bars?” I studied her. Was she really insulting dive bars? I couldn’t be sure, as the room was spinning one way as she was spinning the other.
“Are you new in town?” I asked. I hadn’t seen her on any of my coffee runs or dive bar retreats.
“Yea, I came to town last week. I’m staying with the owner of this hideous beanie,” she pointed to her head, “until I find a new place to call home.”
“Well I hate this place.” I wasn’t sure if it was me or the drink talking anymore. “I can’t stand the coffee shops anymore. I just want to run away. Find a quiet little island with nobody else. No more music, no more free fucking wifi, no more” I slammed my empty glass on the bar, “watered down drinks.
She looked at me. Her eyes were wide, but she was looking at me, right at my hipster-less heart.
“I like you, Rookie.”
Then I woke up. I sprung up.
Head. Pain. Ouch.
Where was I? The sun was beating down on my eyes, causing more pain receptor to go off. Bed. Clock. Giant windows. I’m home. Robbie must have brought me back, taking pity on my poor pinball spirit. There was a sticky note on my TV. “Nice meeting you Rookie. See you around.” A lipstick stained kiss at the bottom. Who was she? Was she one of them? What a girl, and I don’t even know her name.
I went to the mirror, checking to see if any unfortunate events befell me in the night of lost memories. No black eyes, check. Hair was a disheveled mess, but it looked…stylish. A hickey. Not a bad night, I guess. I moved to crawl back in bed, my head pounding as punishment. “COFFEE,” my brain screamed. I need coffee, and some pain killers. I grabbed my pants, but as I slid them on they weren’t…tight enough. Mental note, buy skinnier jeans. I stopped by Robbie’s door. “Hey I’m going for coffee, do you want anything?”
Pause. “Ughhhh my head. Uh, sure, get me the Triple Shot Almond Milk Pineapple Iced Cappuccino.”
“Sure Robbie.” You know what? That sounds delicious. I might have one too.